Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When to point the finger?

(New York Islanders)
I am pretty sure that this is not going to win me new friends among New York Islander fans because most will accuse me of being a New York Ranger fan who is blinded by being a fan. Sorry that is not the case here because in covering Islander prospects over the last couple of years I am more a fan of the prospects than I am either the Rangers or the Islanders.

And I can even understand it if an Islander fan looks at this and says that I am kicking their team while it is down. But here is the point which is why is this team sitting in last place yet again?

Is this where we are supposed to cue up the "It is because the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is so crappy which is why the Islanders are losing" excuse? Maybe what really needs to be said is that the reason why the Islanders are sitting in last place is because of the person who owns the franchise.

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has been a mess since way before Charles Wang purchased the franchise in 2000. Charles Wang knew when he purchased the Islanders that the NVMC was a mess otherwise why else did he try for over a decade to get a new one?

The other popular excuse used is how many millions that Charles Wang has lost since purchasing the Islanders. Sorry that will never cut it with me as I use the same thing I have said about the Rangers when they tried buying playoff spots,

It is not how much money you spend but rather how well you spend your money.

No offense to Garth Snow but turning over the franchise to a player who was on the active roster the day before he got the general manager's position is not a sound business decision. Before anyone goes what about Steve Yzerman he got 4 years of on the job training with the Detroit Red Wings before he took the Tampa job.

You can't have a front office that is lacking in experience as well as manpower and expect to build a winner on the ice to make you the revenue off the ice. The Islanders have had talent working for them in the front office but they keep chasing them away.

Mike Milbury really only did one smart thing during his time with the Islanders and that was convince Gordie Clark to leave Boston with him. When Milbury became GM who do you think did all the hard work?

It was this little known Assistant GM who was the guy who found guys like Charra, Luongo, Dumont, Connolly and even a current Ranger named Taylor Pyatt (yes Clark used a 1999 1st on him). Any wonder why Islander drafts went downhill in 2002 (which was the year Clark joined the Rangers)?

So when you are fed another dose of how much money that Charles Wang has lost ask him about the front office moves made on his watch. Better yet go to the Islander website and take a good hard look at the front office and I don't mean the GM and coaches.

Then pick an NHL team, any team you wish and compare the staff they have with what the Islanders have and then you tell me that we should feel sorry for Charles Wang's wallet.

The Islanders are bleeding Charles Wang's money not because the arena stinks but because the fans have been chased away by how this franchise has been run. I won't deny that Nassau County royally screwed up by chasing away the only major sports franchise they will ever have but there needs to be some accountability on the Islanders end too.

It is hard not to feel bad for the Islander fans when they miss the playoffs again after the 2011-2012 season and then watches the team uses all 7 of their draft picks on defenseman. Nobody among the scouting world would say it aloud but there were a lot of people shaking their heads trying to understand what the Islanders did.

What happens between now and the 2015-2016 season when the franchise does move to Brooklyn? I would love to see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman explain to the hockey world that the Islanders trade for Tim Thomas was made to improve the team.

Please Commissioner tell all of us how the Islanders in trading for Tim Thomas are going to make a serious effort into bring him to Long Island and playing for them. Why Commissioner isn't it your job to look out for the overall good health of the NHL?

If someone has an idea what exactly the Islanders are trying to do other than win the Seth Jones Sweepstakes please by all means tell me what I am not seeing. I look at the number of talented prospects that the Islanders have in Bridgeport as well as playing in North America and I see a promising future.

The question is a promising future for who the Islanders or for other NHL teams?

And Islander fans before start sending me hate email let me leave you one last thought and that is the Rangers and the Devils both win when there is a solid Islander team. The NHL wins when there is a solid Islander team and not what you see these days.

How many of you Islander fans can remember the last time the Islanders eliminated the Rangers in the playoffs? If the honest answer is you can't then let this "Ranger" fan tell you that as a teenager during the 1970's living in Queens that I could handle being eliminated by every NHL team except one.

Take a guess which team that is.

Game Action

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Saskatoon Blades will tell you that they werethisclose to seeing their 8 game winning streak ended by the Swift Current Broncos. First there was a goal scored in the last 29 seconds of regulation that forced overtime.

Then there was Josh Nicholls scoring the only goal in the shootout and the Blades have a 9 game winning streak thanks to a 5-4 shootout win. So the team that was sitting in 8th place in the WHL's Eastern Conference less than 3 weeks ago will wake up on Wednesday morning in 1st place of the WHL's Central Division and in 2nd place of the WHL's Eastern Conference.

McColgan scored his 14th goal of the season in the 2nd period which at the time gave the Blades a 3-1 lead only to see that lead disappear thanks to 3 unanswered Swift Current goals. I seriously doubt the Blade's coaching staff will let them forget that part of the win either.

For McColgan, the goal extended his scoring streak to 5 games (3-3-6) and overall to 14-40-54. McColgan did miss on his shootout attempt so it wasn't a perfect night for him but when he wakes up in the AM it is doubtful he will care.

McColgan and his team are off until Friday when they head on the road for 2 quick road games before returning home on Monday.


7th Woman said...

I don't think you'll get hate mail. Because you shouldn't.

Harry said...

What has Snow done wrong besides not being Gordie Clark? And what was wrong with this last draft? They are solid system wise in goal and on offense, why not load up on Dmen? The first 3-4 rounds are the only ones that you really get players with a hope of being pros (yes, every once in awhile a later rounder breaks through, but we wont know that until a few years, and Snow has been good at getting value late, Matt Martin, Spurgeon, Poulin..). And their first 3 picks last draft were good, Rheinhart, Pokka, Pelech, but the Leduc pick was strange.
And yes, Clark was with Milbury when the Isles had those drafts in the late 90s and early 2000s, but to give him all the credit isnt fair to everyone else who might have been involved. It's never one guy, and I think the same of the last few rangers drafts, it's not all Clark.
Where was this Larry Brooks type take down of the Islanders when they were getting the bounces earlier in the season? Where was the article about Kreider's awful Neidereiter-like start to the season and the fact that he couldnt get shot on net in the AHL? Could't have been Gordie Clark's fault right?
Fact is they've lost a few tough games, specifically Buffalo and Carolina games, they deserved a point out of each of those at least, but that's the way it goes, just like the Rangers didnt deserve 2 pts for giving up 2 goals in the last minute last night.
What mistakes has Snow made that point to his inexperience? I think we've had this back and forth before, but lets hear them. It's not his fault his front office staff might be smaller, though he does have scouts, it's not just him in the room by himself.

Jess Rubenstein said...

7th Woman

Thank you Dee I appreciate that


Who drafts nothing but defensemen in a draft? Are you honestly going to tell me that there wasn't any other possible players that the Islanders could not have taken?

And then factor in Mayfield, Pedan, Russo and Kichton from 2011 which makes it 11 defensemen in 2 drafts. Meanwhile de Haan, Donovan, and Ness are in Bridgeport so there are 14 defenders and are you going to say that makes sense?

But where you missed out was that this wasn't about Snow this was about Charles Wang and where the real blame is.

You say that it is not Snow's fault that the front office is smaller then who's fault is it?

If you said Charles Wang then you would have realized what I was saying.

Sorry that you don't get it Harry because Snow isn't to blame Wang is.

I blame Wang for the Islanders trading for Tim Thomas just to raise their salary cap in order to qualify for revenue sharing.

I blame Wang for the Islanders not having a legit player development team.

And what happens between now and 2015? Are the Islanders going to load up with more waiver wire picks while there are players down in Bridgeport?

And as for the Kreider/Miller stuff you missed on them in the summer. But this wasn't the point

What I am sorry that you simply are missing the real point which is when does someone stand up and say that Charles Wang needs to go.

Harry said...

Simply asking "who does that" isn't a valid criticism. I'm sure if we researched we would be able to find a GM who drafted all D-man or offensive players with the first 4 picks of a draft, which, like I said, are the ones that really matter in my opinion. It's really not that crazy if you take a step back instead of just saying "same old Islanders". And you even left out that trade offer for Columbus's top pick, all of our draft for their #2, which was actually praised by a few writers because the chance of receiving value from the 2 spot in the draft is extremely higher than all of the other picks combined, although I think Snow was hoping for Yakupov to drop to #2 if he made that trade offer. Maybe Snow is taking the approach that he needs to tighten up their defensie game, which is obvious from watching the team lately. It's like in baseball where it is easier to get offensive players in free agency, compared to pitchers where you have to spend an arm and a leg, look at Felix Hernandez for Seattle and the tremendous contract he signed. I think Snow thinks it's easier to find cheaper value in forwards on the free agent market, compared to dmen (Suter and Weber contracts kind of prove that, those type of dmen are so rare, not saying any of these draft picks will be anything like that, tho I hope Rheinhart can be close).

I have to check either a blog post or an article, but the Isles listed scouting department listed on their website has a decent amount of scouts, probably less then a organization as rich as the Leafs, but it's probably about league average.

The Thomas trade was a cap maneuver, the optics are bad, but it's really not much different than Gomez or Redden being bought out to get under the cap. Should the Islanders have picked up Redden to be dead weight on their blue line and pay him? Or solve the cap floor problem without wasting the actual money? They are playing by the rules either way, just the like the Rangers were by getting out of the Redden contract and being able to spend that money on someone else.

I don't love the Islanders player development system habits, but I think they fixed the Nino situation before it could have been worse, and those trade demands got squashed pretty quickly. They are doing the right thing now with all of the other prospects, a solid 1/3 of the Bridgeport roster are potential NHL players (Poulin, Nillson, , Sundstrom, Perrson, Ness, Donovan, Halmo, Nelson, Kabanov, Nino) who are getting repetitions in the A and are hopefully learning. Why can't we compliment or at least mention that the team adapting and trying to fix a mistake with how they handled Nino?

And a new owner isn't a magic bullet, look at Buffalo and how they have spent. They're a disaster right now. I think Tyler Myers was handled a lot worse than any Islander, and they spent aimlessly on all of those free agents (Erhoff,Leino, etc.

Good hockey talk either way, I just don't think you're giving the Islanders a fair shake and you are holding old missteps over their head. It's easy for me to say, but the last 2 games they lost were crazy games, outshouting Buffalo 43-15 and losing is hard to do, and Carolina benefited from some of the most ridiculous bounces I've ever seen (cross ice shot off of Hamonic's chest into the top corner of the goal?) the other night to score 3 of their 5 non-empty net goals, yes, I'm making excuses, but the point is that if the puck bounces a bit differently, this team is viewed as one on the up-rise instead of this losing streak.

Jess Rubenstein said...


I don't mean to be rude but while you are spending all this time and energy trying to defend the moves Garth Snow has made; you keep ignoring that I said the problem is Charles Wang.

The Islander offer you cited and said was supported by a FEW writers was laughed at by MANY writers and those who scout for a living.

Sorry you can't even come up with a logical reason why to draft all defensemen but here you can look here and see if you can find a franchise in the cap era that drafted all defensemen.

The difference between the Redden/Gomez moves and the Thomas moves were the former was done in order to give players who wanted to play a chance to do so.

The Thomas deal was a flat out attempt to cheat the system and aid the Islander's efforts to reach the lower end of the salary cap.

Got some bad news for you on the Nino trade rumors which is they weren't legit. Arthur Staple kicked that dog when the source of said "trade demands" was Nino's Swiss agent not the guy who represents him in North America.

As for the Sabres, they are an example of my "It is not how much you spend" theory.

And lastly if I disliked the Islanders the way you think I do then I would not be covering their prospects.

I make money covering the Ranger prospects, I get nothing for covering the Islander prospects.

Harry said...

With regards to drafting all dmen and defending it, my point was that I'm sure there has been a GM who has drafted all of one position for the first half of the draft. Mainly saying that it's not as unreasonable if you look at how the Isles have drafted in the long run, specifically all of the forwards drafted early in the draft since 2008, and the fact that the later picks aren't as relevant. Criticize Wang and the spending all you want, but the Isles system has risen from the bottom to close to the top, and that's not just from the high picks, they've found value after the first round, so I don't think their draft pick choices are an area that is open to quickly being criticized.

The big writers who laughed at that draft offer were pretty much Scott Burnside I bet, who loves taking his potshots, I remember LeBrun supporting it, as well as someone from SI, although if you have a few that laughed at it, I'll listen, because you seem convinced there were more.

I'm curious about what you said about Nino, because I didn't see Staple mention the different reps in the states against his Euro reps. I think Missed that bit of news, but that is good news to me, I hated seeing all of that trade crap with Nino, and I'll be happy to be wrong on that point.

Hopefully the ownership money issues will get resolved with the Brooklyn move, because I don't think Wang is going anywhere, my theory is that he's so connected to the NHL with the Neulien video service, that Bettman won't force him out, although if the value increases enough, maybe he'll bail out and sell. One can only hope.

Jess Rubenstein said...

What I said about Nino is basically that you have a prospect who has been left wondering what he has to do in order to have an idea as to where he stands with the Islanders.

In my own opinion, the Islander missed an opportunity to do with Nino what other teams have done with their prized prospects.

Part of what made Detroit work for as long as they have has been taking a older vet and use him with their kids as linemates. You have a 2nd coach who is working with the kids during games.

I would have had Nino living with Doug Weight during that first year so Weight could mentor him. Most people don't realize that Nino had just the one season with Portland then bamm he is in the Islander camp.

An 18 yr old teenager from Europe going from sleepy Portland Oregon (Now I will have the Winterhawk fans mad at me) to life just outside New York City.

Nino is very coachable but I really believe there is a breakdown in communications with him and the other prospects.

If it was me rather than use Doug Weight as an assistant coach/GM adviser; I use him the way the Rangers use Adam Graves and Mark Messier.

Send Weight to work with the prospects because let's be blunt here; if you are a 18 year old teenager and the Islanders send someone to offer advice which person would have the greater impact?

Doug Weight, Eric Cairns or Trent Klatt? Most prospects will know Weight almost automatically, some might know Klatt but Cairns doubtful.

You also hit the nail when you mentioned Wang's involvement with Neulien but I have heard rumors of other interests too.

Today's NHL is full of owners who have conflicts of interests from arena management to concession operations to website design and management.

The biggest question you should be asking is what about next season as well as 2014-2015? When you look at the current roster and all those 30+ players then are the Islanders going to bring all the kids up at once or keep using rosters that qualify them for revenue sharing?

Harry said...

With regards to the revenue sharing, I don't think the amount they spend effects how much money they receive from revenue sharing, it's purely based on revenue and location, for example, Nashville receives revenue sharing money and they have a higher payroll than the Islanders, Tampa too, as well as others. Isles also won't receive a full share of revenue sharing money because of the size of the NY market.

I completely agree with the mentoring thoughts, they did that with Tavares and Weight, and although JT is a different level of player, it seems that it definitely helped him as far as being comfortable, but he also had Moulson to lean on, with them being close family friends for so long, so it might be different with Nino. Pens also did that with Sid to break him into the league. I still think allowing Nino to play 20+ minutes a night in the AHL and getting PP and PK time has been great for him, I think he's the most important prospect they have right now, mostly because he's so close to the show, and has so much potential. Even when he was buried on the 4th line last year, he would make some skill plays that would show just how good he can be, and he'd show off a hard shot, but he didn't have linemates who could clean up rebounds or get open for him.